Retail apocalypse, Google addition: 7 legacy brands that are vanishing from our collective minds

Analytics firm SEMrush looked at Google search volume for legacy retailers, including Kmart, Wet Seal, Sears, and others. The results are not good.

Retail apocalypse, Google addition: 7 legacy brands that are vanishing from our collective minds
[Photo: American Stock/Getty Images]

Have you thought about Kmart lately? What about Wet Seal or American Apparel?


In fact, we know that you probably haven’t, because online searches for those and other legacy retail brands have been declining significantly over the past three years.

That’s according to new data from SEMrush, an analytics firm that measures Google searches. After news broke earlier this month that Macy’s plans to close 125 stores, SEMrush took a look at its internal data to see if there is a correlation between physical store closures and declining search interest. It turns out there is. It’s not a perfect measure, of course—Google search volume can be influenced many factors, including media coverage, stock movements, sales, or what have you.

But in looking at SEMrush’s data, it’s interesting to see just how much search interest for some of these legacy brands has fallen. Here’s a list of some of the worst off, as measured over the past three years:

  • Toys ‘R’ Us: down 93%
  • Wet Seal: down 91%
  • American Apparel: down 78%
  • Kmart: down 76%
  • Sears: down 62%
  • Foot Locker: down 70%
  • Michael Kors: 40%

One outlier? Pier 1 Imports, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The retail chain is said to be closing about half of its 942 stores. Despite those woes, SEMrush found that search volume for the brand increased 12% in the past three years.

The firm also found increases for Dollar Tree, CVS, Abercrombie & Fitch, and others, so there’s hope for some legacy retailers. Now might be a great time to work on your SEO.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine